State Rep. Regina Barrow, a strong supporter of the CATS tax in Baton Rouge, made a media splash last night on WAFB-TV, saying that it took her two hours to get from Earl Long Hospital to the new Woman’s Hospital using CATS buses, and she had to walk for a mile and a half to boot!
Now isn’t that just like a government-run bus company! They’re not where you need them, and plus the buses run virtually empty all the time!
The solution? Double their budget.
But Rep. Barrow has a better idea: Create a new bus line down Airline Highway from Earl Long to Woman’s. And get this: she says it will only cost $10,000 to $15,000 a year to do it.
Wow, that’s only $27 to $40 a day! Pretty economical, isn’t it? Yes, we can run an entirely new route, with buses and drivers every 15 minutes, and only $27 to $40 a day.
With math like this, do you wonder why we’re in trouble?
Here’s a problem: CATS is not a medical transportation system. We have other taxpayer-funded systems for that. For emergency medical transportation, we have EMS and Acadian Ambulance.
But pay attention to this, because you probably aren’t aware of it – for non-emergency medical transportation, we have an entire state program. Under Medicaid, poor people can get free transportation to their doctors or hospital visits. The program even pays “family and friends” to take you on the non-emergency medical trip.
But neither Rep. Barrow nor WAFB-TV mentions that. The appearance was that poor people are walking up and down Airline Highway because no transportation is available. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Finally, Rep. Barrow said the reason CATS can’t start the new route, which will only cost $10,000 to $15,000 a year (!), is because Mr. Milton Graugnard has sued CATS and is tying up their money!
POOR PEOPLE WHO NEED NON-EMERGENCY MEDICAL TRANSPORTATION JUST HAVE TO PICK UP THEIR PHONE AND CALL 1-800-259-1944 TO GET A FREE RIDE in Baton Rouge.
Or they could get their “family or friends” to take them, and the family and friends will be reimbursed with your tax dollars. Here’s a graphic with a whole host of information on the program…
Of course, they could just decide to take a walk with Rep. Regina Barrow down Airline Highway. But it’s been mighty wet and cold lately.
You might want to call Louisiana’s Medicaid Medical Transportation Service if the situation put forth on Channel 9 describes you, despite Rep. Barrow’s good advice.